Sunday, 30 April 2017

Deaf education

Welsh Ambulance app in line for awards

A WELSH Ambulance Service app which helps frontline staff to interact with patients who have additional communication needs has been nominated for two awards.

The new app was launched in December 2016 to assist people who are deaf, don't speak English as their first language, have learning difficulties, or whose illness or injury affects their communication.  Since then it has been downloaded almost 2,000 times and uses images and supporting text to find out information about patients, such as their symptoms.

The bilingual app has now been shortlisted for the finals of both the Patient Safety Awards and the Excellence Wales Awards.

The Patient Safety Awards recognise UK organisations striving to improve patient safety in healthcare, while the Action on Hearing Loss Excellence Wales Awards celebrates those going above and beyond to be accessible to people in Wales who are deaf or have hearing loss.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Evan....

Evan. from Sarah Stier on Vimeo.

Evan Alioto was born without sight and limited ability to hear. He uses the sport of swimming as a reprieve from everyday life.

Game on !



The silly season has started.....

On Wednesday, May 3, 2017, Bridges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing will host a Game Day at Bridges. Between 11am and 1pm CST, four Bridges directors will compete in a stick horse race. You will decide the winner! The director who receives the most "votes" (gifts made online in his/her name) between 11am and 1pm CST will win! Only online gifts (credit card, debit card, E-check) will count. 

Go to www.thebigpayback.org . Search for Bridges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Make your donation, and enter the name of your favorite director in the comments box. It doesn't matter how much you give...only that you give. If Bridges receives the most gifts between 11am and 1pm CST, we win a bonus! 

Domestic abuse help in BSL...

Friday, 28 April 2017

Across the Miles

Image result for new zealand jokesLetter to an ex-pat....

Hi there !

Hope your health is bearing up. We are OK here, apart from a tory government... and a labour leader who has just been released from the 1960s and with a dodgy beard...



I expect in New Zealand the Brexit saga of the UK is riveting reading, as regards to New Zealand still being 12 years behind us. Here half the country wants to deport the other half or they come to blows really.  I'm still campaigning to flood the channel tunnel and never see Europe again, but I expect that is just me and 17m others at present.  

Image result for maoriMaybe your living on volcanoes, sheep counting, and enduring the occasional tropical flood, is more peaceful.   NZ will benefit from Brexit, we like the butter and lamb from there, but your average Maori needs a bit of support, they cannot rely on tattooing as a career forever. 

Where we live now in our new home it is rather too cosmopolitan, we are hard-pushed to find fellow Brits if truth be told.  Usually, they are the ones wearing hoodies and demanding money with menace when not spaced out on Vimto...

Image result for disgusting polish foodThe nearest supermarket is Polish, who seem to live on obscure meats from a packet or a tin, and cheeses that doesn't come from any animal I know about... I don't go there and travel 3 miles to town instead, to seek out the lard....  I have no intention to buy or to eat, anything I cannot pronounce or read.   I had a very unpleasant experience with a lychee which still haunts me even now... Tasted awful when we fried it. Apparently they aren't exotic mushrooms...

So it's meat and 2 veg with rice pud for us and little else really.  The rest is an assortment of rather dubious fast food outlets of even more dubious origin, I cannot believe these people existed on before they came here, it's mainly called 'fast food', because of the speed you regurgitate it. If our pavements are any guide, customers don't make the first 50 yards without proving the point.

Image result for fried chicken disastersYer average foreigner only has chicken to eat apparently... it tastes so awful they cover it in spice or chilli or something to mask the taste...  The Asian shops dish out stuff no self-respecting Asian would ever eat themselves.  You don't see how they cook it, because their cooks hide behind a wall or something and push the stuff through a hole in it. 

Probably so we can't identify them.  The credo is just fry it, the Brits will eat it. Although they are slow to find the joys of fried mars bars, and ice cream as the Scots seem to have cornered that market, and their Glasgow salads...

Image result for british pub laughsThe nearest 'convenience' shop is Hindu, so handy if you are a Hindu, the owner speaks better English than I do, so I tend to feel a bit uneasy asking for anything there in case they show me up.    His great grandfather's family has a soft spot for Queen Victoria or something.  Probably best forget to mention we slaughtered half the rest. 

The local barber is Syrian so I aint going in there without a bomb-proof suit on and a check for IED's, or while he has something sharp in his hand.

Our sole refuge away from other world people is the local pub, one advantage we brits have, is the foreigners don't drink around here, as their religion bans it, no wonder they are miserable buggers and shooting at each other.  Or it may be the local lager and beer really is piss.  Amazingly few if any ethnic or coloured people enter either as they feel outnumbered.   The last bastion of the British, the pub. 

Image result for turkish drinksThe local ethnic fraternities appear to gather at the local Turkish cafe, whose cuisine appears to masses of cake with enough sugar in to create world diabetes on its own, and some disgusting brown stuff they claim is a national drink, one dares not ask what the hell it is, touchy these Turks are as we know when they aren't jailing each other for speaking or organising a coup of some kind.... or when they aren't screwing us to keep the migrant flotillas in check that is...


Image result for auckland bridge jokesI was watching a NZ TV show yesterday about police and traffic issues on Auckland bridge, (just to get a feel of what life is like down there.. I can't watch your films on Hobbits I keep falling asleep after the first 5 minutes).  Your police seem rather polite, Ours would just throw them in the clink and forget about them, they don't have time here to discuss pleasantries.   It looks like you have almost as many idiots driving there as we do, and quite a few with a death wish, staggering along the centre of the motorways to get home at 2am (As you do). 

Image result for french jokesThere would be less of a problem if there wasn't so many drivers at 2am determined to turn them into road kill at early AM too, have they no homes to  go to ?  There does seem a  lot of Chinese, Malaysians or Phillipinoes there, mostly emulating the European approach of trying to enter without vias, and joining your black economy, I thought NZ too small to have one ? I suppose someone has to own the junk food outlets and keep slavery alive not just us....

I noticed your daughter traversed to France recently, does she like to live dangerously?  She could try Ponty town centre after 9pm, they train the SAS there... France must be the most unsociable country in Europe, next to Germany...  

Some might suggest my views are somewhat negative of our world compatriots, and I lack the entente' cordial but... it is just us true Brits making a last stand as I see it, and before we all end up speaking Arabic, mastering the art of semtex detonation,  camel rearing, and buying mats with compasses to kneel on.  

Best wishes to you and yours. Say hello to Blodwyn for me...

Your Brother...

Subtitle Horse...


Create captions and subtitles for content already online. This tool is a simple to use tool for generating the caption file that you can upload to many websites so that your videos are captioned making them accessible to deaf or hard-of-hearing folks. And best of all its FREE.

Sudan: New Sign Dictionary...

Translators, couriers of diversity ?

There is no single sign language for those who cannot hear, although an international sign language does exist that borrows from different, mainly European sign languages

Translators play a vital role in saving the world's languages, their work allowing 6,000 to 7,000 spoken tongues to exist, and 3,000 rare dialects to survive. "Without translation, there is no history of mankind," says linguist Astrid Guillaume, of the Sorbonne University in Paris.

"We know histories and cultures of the world only by way of translations," she adds. The word "translate" comes from the Latin "traducere", which means "to carry across". Here are three examples of how translators serve linguistic diversity. Born to a peasant family in Brittany, western France, where they spoke Breton, Rozenn Milin could have become a translator from French to that language.

She chose instead to champion the survival of the world's rarest languages through her Sorosoro project. Sorosoro means breath, speech and language, in Araki, a nearly-extinct language now spoken by less than 10 people.  It is one of many tongues heard in the Pacific island republic of Vanuatu.

Sorosoro's goal is to preserve recordings of endangered languages by filming people who still speak them and storing the result, after translation, at France's national audiovisual institute INA.

Translators ?  or Interpreters ?  The difference ?


Silence please there are deaf about...

"Jazz hands" are preferable to clapping, NUS say
Students bored again !! How will students cheering bother people who cannot hear ?  Get back to your books lol


Students who whoop, cheer and clap should face “consequences” because they are excluding deaf people, delegates at the National Union of Students conference said.

Audience members were repeatedly warned that they must cease whooping to express support for a speaker, because it has a “serious impact” on the accessibility of the conference.

Delegates at the NUS annual conference in Brighton were encouraged to use “jazz hands” instead of clapping - where students wave their hands in the air - as this is deemed a more inclusive form of expression.

Estelle Hart, an NUS elections committee member who was chairing a session on Thursday, told students: “No whooping, it does have a serious impact on some delegates ability to access conference.”


Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Access for deaf and HoH.

This is the RAD...


It doesn't explain there are cost and basic RAD availability issues.  E.G. no offices or agency exists in Wales or in many other parts of the UK.  The reliance online does not help either.  In the opening issue, the man sought benefit advice, we don't know what area he was from, but in Wales, not a single deaf organisation was able to advise on that, as they had no deaf professionally trained to advise.   As such, benefits advice had to be supplied by the groups for blind and deaf-blind instead.

On another aspect, an advertised 'newly opened' RAD office in Wales, actually NEVER opened and 'closed' shortly afterwards with no explanation at all.  We suggest it was because staff said the RAD did not make it worth their while to be employed by them and left the RAD.  Budding 'Deaf' lawyers were still being ostracised by mainstream legal areas..... because no support was forthcoming for the RAD trainees to gain legal experience.

One issue is the perennial 'Deaf' issue in that the specialisation on BSL-only clients fell foul of laws (!) on inclusion, you should have read the books, lads.....  Maybe more productive of the RAD to lobby for own staff access and awareness first. With many parts of the UK now devolved, the RAD is really NON-extant for deaf unless you live in southern England, more honesty, please.

As an example, the AOHL (a charity for the HoH), had 42,000+ concerns raised on their forum re the complete lack of proper benefit advice from deaf or HoH groups, right in the middle of RAD's area coverage, are people seeking out the RAD, not !

Fake Terp Inspires...

Sign language. Picture: Tshepiso Mokoena Foundation.
Writer Sophie Woolley has collaborated with choreographer Andile Vellem and director Gemma Fairlie to deliver a theatre performance highlighting the need for qualified sign language interpreters.


They also focus on the challenge of slow integration of deaf people with regards to education, jobs and other sectors of society.  The Fake Interpreter incorporates sign language to drive the message home.  The production was inspired by Woolley’s own views around a fake interpreter - Thamsanqa Jantjie - used at Nelson Mandela's memorial service.

"It takes years of training and this is why people who think that they have just done a sign course can interpret to people… you have to train in the same way a doctor would train, it’s a commitment." said by 'Sophie Woolley, writer '

Controversial sign-language interpreter Thamsanqa Jantjie remains in a psychiatric hospital but has stabalised. Picture: Alex Eliseev/EWN."There needs to be more resources. There is a will in the Constitution, a provision to promote sign language but it falls into the same grey area as the Khoisan language, it is not being called an official language." said by 'Sophie Woolley, writer '

Earlier this month the team showcased a 40-minute scratch performance to a select audience, which included pupils from the Dominican School for the Deaf at Artscape Theatre in Cape Town.  Woolley says more needs to be done to facilitate the integration of deaf children in regular schools.


‘Being deaf has shaped who I am’

Aidan Whitehead, cochlear implants, rowing, deafExamples of confusing images of deaf people abound, here is one.  It could be argued Cochlear Implants made him who he was,  but at least the d was not capitalised in the article heading.  Will medias or deaf people, EVER get it right ?

Although Aidan Whitehead was born profoundly deaf, he was fortunate to receive cochlear implants when he was two years old. Today, he is 19 and a first-year engineering student at the University of Stellenbosch. 

“Life with cochlear implants is sometimes very noisy and sometimes very quiet,” says Aidan. “I find that classrooms and lecture halls are a challenge – it’s often difficult to follow what’s being said because of the background noise. I know this can be difficult for hearing people too but it’s twice as hard for me. I have to sit close to the speaker or lecturer so I don’t miss anything.

“Being in a conversation with more than two other people is also a problem for me. I struggle to follow what is being said.”  To overcome this Aidan often has to guide the conversation or take charge, especially in group projects.   “Sometimes it also helps to position myself in the best place to hear, for example, sitting with my left ear (my stronger side) towards the conversation.”

‘I’m treated no differently’  “I don’t think I’m treated any differently,” says Aidan. “It helps that I don’t think of myself as being hearing impaired. I see it more as a part of who I am – a part of my personality. This has helped shape the way people treat me – they treat me as a fully functioning hearing peer rather than a disabled individual.”

Understanding cochlear implants

A cochlear implant is an electrical apparatus that is surgically implanted into the bone behind the ear. It is made up of a microphone (receives the sounds), a speech processor (selects usable sounds) and a coil (decodes and sends electric impulses to the electrodes). 

“Cochlear implants and speech processors have opened the world to me. They have allowed me to expand my potential far beyond what it would have been without them,” he says.


Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Teacher/Deaf-Blind Intervenor roles..

And finally… sign of the times

Image result for 1,000 or 1,000,000 ?A former IBM employee who is deaf is suing his lawyer for wrongly interpreting his sign language after settling his discrimination case for $200,000 rather than the amount he claims to have asked for – $200m.

James Wang, 49, argues his lawyer, Andrew Rozynski, exaggerated his understanding of sign language and mistook the amount Mr Wang was suing for. The sign for “thousand” involves tapping the palm once, while for “million”, it’s twice.  Mr Wang alleges that the computer giant fired him as a result of his disability in 2013, the New York Post reports.

Mr Wang is suing Mr Rozynski’s firm, Eisenberg & Baum LLP, for legal malpractice at Manhattan Supreme Court.

However, the lawyer argues the case is without merit, pointing to US District Court Judge Vincent Briccetti’s judgment in the previous lawsuit in which he said it was implausible for Mr Wang to expect to be awarded $200m, over 3,000 times his salary.

Promoting BSL to Mainstream

Related imageFirst, you have to agree what BSL is and then accept some norm, it goes without much saying, you have to clarify WHO benefits from mainstream being aware of it apart from the few...

E.G. the BDA promote a DIFFERENT version of BSL to the other areas as I understand it, and promote a different deaf week of awareness too, they believe their BSL is in the 'purist' form, i.e. devoid of 'English and grammar influences' but inclusive of cultural background, they object to sign being taught simply as a 'tool' of communication.  

Frankly, that is ALL learners are interested in, because they take it up as a paying job (Interpreting).  Whilst they will sit there learning about the culture, in practice, they won't be espousing or promoting that aspect except as a sop to clients. There is an acceptance they have to put up with the cultural part of sign, but they (Hearing learners), don't see it as integral to the work they will be doing and pay (Pardon the pun!),  'lip-service' to it..

The issue of awareness communication-wise, (and viz-a-viz with the hearing loss population), has little or nothing to do specifically with the 'Deaf' in this respect or even BSL, as basically, it is about those who lose hearing after formative years or are losing it now, the majority not the minority, who have own systems and never use such classes.  

It is staggering there is actually no set up of comms support tailored for that majority, except a fee charged BSL class set up, or a DIY Lip-reading set up without aim, bottom line, or purpose, given they represent that majority, and as statistics suggest, massive increases of people with hearing loss emerging.  They cannot all have or want CI's... and those with hearing loss are NOT the pupils attending the classes.. They are all hearing.

Even if they eventually agree on a signed norm, it still will do nothing for the other loss sectors.  We have 3m in the UK who would rather cut their ears off than wear a hearing aid e.g. and a load of others going downhill, but still desperately convinced they can hear something so they are OK, (except when it deteriorates to the point they are isolated by default!), then they get angry wondering why there is no support for them or any national program established for them.  

Those with majority hearing loss, do not see the fault of unawareness is entirely their apathetic own.  Awareness is a poor joke, but there are plenty of clowns making money from it, and nobody to oversee if awareness 'Deaf' or otherwise, is accurate or is just a complete free-for-all.  It's all randoms and colleges making money on it, re-framing hearing loss, and communication as a culture, it is the hard sell... 

There is no authority or standard to oversee any sort of accuracy, it is why the BDA went off on its own.  But 'Deaf' have little or no influence on college or private learning... or on how sign via the curriculum is taught, it is hearing dictating the format, honing the tuition to fit in with hearing employment norms, eventually, they will change the entire nature of sign and its use, one suspects BSL grammar will be the first casualty...  

Sign tuition being profit driven, could all collapse if market forces dictate the money isn't in it... there are already concerns state support via DWP ESA allowances for the deaf to work etc, are being capped or simply removed, this means interpreters would not be able to make a living out of it.  The state responding with 'You are too expensive to support,' and urging the deaf to find alternatives to sign... and/or to rely on others like family or friends prepared to help for free...  Employers don't want sign users or prepared to pay their support bill, which they claim is higher than the value of the deaf employees' skill value, or wage.  Employers are not a charity or non-profit. Providing a social service they don't.

The more able BSL sector has latched on to the fact awareness means money, and jobs/work for them as 'advisors to the ignorant'. Who would question (Apart from us), whether it is fact-based, accurate, or not ?  They just publish own take on it and ignore deaf and others who don't sign.   They aren't going to do the HI's work for them.  

Many are not interested in BSL, in either its 'pure' format, or its random 'preferenced' anything-goes approaches, it should really reflect English, e.g. Signed English, we live in the UK not 'DeafWorld', and it makes more sense to educate in the host country's grammar, if only to land a job, and read a book about their own background....  

The way sign is taught is self-isolating, and anti-inclusion based.  Using S.E. sign would make more sense and practicality to HI/HoH, encouraging 10 times the number with hearing loss to learn basics of sign, because they and hearing, are both conversant with the grammatical form.   If the majority hearing loss sector take up sign in any number then demand would also rocket.  Opposing english grammar is negative.

While sign carries the albatross of culture and deaf politics, as an equal or higher priority, it is not an attractive or realistic proposition for HoH, and a barrier to mainstream. Culture should be an optional take up, not part and parcel of sign language learning. All is still 'falling on Deaf ears..' as the pursuit of culture, overrides the practical issues and drawbacks of sign usage in the mainstream, and the direction is simply to fight court cases...

Monday, 24 April 2017

The Word...

The Chasm between sign users and hearing...


And, between sign users and others with hearing loss too !

Sex education: Communication is key...



In deaf sex education, communication is a key factor. Parents should be sure to find a way to talk about sex with their child at every stage of adolescence. 

Additionally, parents need to find a way to communicate this information clearly. It is important for children to know about sex for their protection against STD's and early pregnancy. This video features Bo Clements talking about deaf sex education.

Fiji Parliament starts sign language services

IMG2.jpgA system even the UK has never established.... 

Sign language has been introduced from today for parliament sitting. Officers who are proficient in this area are providing simultaneous interpretation of the sitting to the viewers. 

Parliamentary Speaker, Dr Jiko Luveni, says she is glad that information and communication from the sittings is now accessible to those that have a hearing impairment. 

“I am grateful to the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation for responding positively to our call for assistance in this respect. My appreciation also goes out to the Fiji Association of the Deaf, the Department of Communications and the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation for their commitment towards this worthy cause.” The parliament faced some technical challenges earlier and was unable to use the sign language services for the February and March sittings...

Friday, 21 April 2017

ODSP and Funding/Grants

The unaffordable Cost of Diversity ?


So who should be footing the bill ? and HOW is the message of real diversity being sold in regards to inclusion, when many roles are stereotypical ones, and the inclusion of diversity in mainstream is viewed as a campaign and lecture platform on awareness ? 

The key is MINORITY, not just DIVERSITY, and the fact funding is supplied not on diverse basis, but on a minority and 'ring-fenced' dedicated basis.  The whole set up is to pigeon-hole artistic endeavour, and the Deaf insist on it !  They have pasted themselves into own corner, then blaming others for it.  If you make a show or film strictly to raise awareness, or for own area of minority or language, then by default, it can never appeal to the wider audience, can it ? Appealing to own areas is difficult because the audience can only be found it cities... even then subsidised...

No amount of funding is going to make it a mainstream appeal.  Deaf culture has ruined wider awareness of deaf and HoH people because it is elitist and sign-driven, now mainstream areas expect only deaf that sign as a representation of that area... and deaf artists are angry about it, nobody employs them for anything else. The DWP and Lottery who fund artistic disability and deaf access can now capitalise on the fact it isn't inclusive, or representative and operate more cuts.  

As deaf and HoH people why cannot we ask the question, what is in all this 'diversity' in the arts, for us ? Why is nobody asking the real question 'Given there are 9m of us in the UK, why is funding ONLY going to a few hundred deaf luvvies who make the content we don't want to watch ?'  Is it not factual, deaf and disabled just want the mainstream to finance own exclusion under the guise of diversity ?  The appeal is too singular of their output.  Suits deaf culture down to the ground.

The artistic director of Metta Theatre has claimed organisations have a moral duty to invest in diversity regardless of extra costs.


Poppy Burton-Morgan says the industry needs a “step change”, and although budgets are stretched, producers always have a choice.  Burton-Morgan, who works as a freelance opera and theatre director alongside her role at the London and Exeter-based Metta, raised the issue in a blog for UK Theatre, which discussed the ethical considerations of budgeting for producers.

She told The Stage: “It costs more to work with deaf and disabled actors. There is a scheme called Access to Work where you can apply for funding from the government, but it gets harder and harder and there is never a guarantee. If you are a producer then that is a really big consideration.  “At the casting level it takes the time to find those people. For instance, with ethnicity, if you have to work harder to reach different people, that is the cost.

“Sometimes audiences for certain works can be perceived to be narrower, and there is a feeling that there will be less box office takings. Also, if you have to provide captioning, that all costs extra.”  Burton-Morgan argued, however, that organisations needed to build these costs into their budgets from the beginning and make diversity a driving force behind their work.